In this file photo from 2017, Will Prater leads a Zumba class at D.W. Wilson Community Center. Tullahoma Parks and Recreation Program Manager Lyle Russell announced that there are now two new dance-based fitness classes on the schedule just like Zumba, as well as a new high-intensity interval training class for those looking for a new kind of workout.

Tullahoma Parks and Recreation Department is always looking for ways to get people moving and shaking their tail feathers, and the new classes offered at D.W. Wilson Community Center can do just that.

Parks and Recreation Program Manager Lyle Russell announced the center has added three new fitness classes for those looking for a different kind of workout, be it a higher intensity bout or a lower impact and fun groove session.

The center now offers a Tabata & Toning class from 8 to 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as a Show Dance Fitness class at 8 a.m. and A Latin fusion dance class meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

All three new classes help the parks and recreation department increase residents’ access to physical activity. Increased access to fitness classes like these helps the city keep its title of a Healthier Tennessee Community, a title the city has enjoyed for the last two years.


Tabata method

According to, the Tabata Method is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which sees participants alternate between short bursts of high-intensity anaerobic training “followed by even shorter recovery and less intense recovery periods.”

The method is largely credited to Professor Izumi Tabata, the dean of the Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Sport and Health Science in Kyoto, Japan. Tabata and several colleagues studied the Japanese Speed Skating team in the 1990s, as those athletes were using “an unusual training technique of short bursts with even shorter rest periods.”

After the study was complete, Tabata discovered the speed skaters had a 28-percent increase their anaerobic capacity, as well as a 15-percent increase in their VO2 max, or the measure of a person’s maximum capacity to transport and use oxygen during a period of exertion, such as a workout. That 15 percent increase in the VO2 max is considered a good measure of cardiovascular fitness.

In practical applications, the Tabata method is comprised of 20 seconds of hard training followed by 10 seconds of rest. This circuit is completed eight times for a total workout of just four minutes.

According to, “what sets this workout apart is the intensity of each set, which has to be as hard as you can.” Those using the method should feel “absolutely exhausted” once the four-minute workout is complete.


Dance-based fitness

Those looking for a more relaxed workout also have some new options at the center. Two new dance-based fitness classes have also been added on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Starting at 8 a.m. each day is “Showdance Fitness,” a musical theater-approach to fitness, followed by a Latin fusion class at 9 a.m.

According to a Time Magazine article from 2017, dancing can allow a person to expend more than 300 calories every half hour, per a report from the University of Brighton in the U.K. Even “relatively tame forms” of dancing can burn about the same number of calories as riding a spin bike, the article says.

Dancing involves moving multiple parts of the body all at once in multiple directions and it also sees people accelerate and decelerate their bodies multiple times, which can expend much more energy than rhythmic forms of exercise, such as running or swimming.

Crushing those calories isn’t the only benefit of dancing – dancers can also help boost their muscular system and strengthen tendons because of the various moves involved.

Dancing can also be a low-impact cardio workout, meaning dancers can still increase their heart rate and burn fat but not risk hurting themselves at the same time.

Dancing also has psychological benefits, including reducing stress, lowering anxiety and increasing social bonds between people.


Other classes

The new classes join a schedule of diverse fitness offerings at D.W. Wilson, including Zumba, cardio kickboxing and water-based fitness classes.

According to parks and recreation information, there are 15 different classes interested community members can choose from.

There is a 20/20/20 class, which involves high-impact cardio work, such as kickboxing, body sculpting and abdominal exercises, in order to achieve a full-body workout in less than an hour. The class runs from 5 to 5:45 p.m. on Mondays, according to the schedule.

Zumba Gold is a Zumba class “tailored for older adults who are looking for a modified … class at a lower intensity.” The easy-to-follow choreography focuses on balance, range of motion and coordination. Zumba Gold takes place from 8 to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as 9 to 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Cardio kickboxing combines elements of boxing, martial arts and aerobics in order to provide an overall physical conditioning and toning experience. The class takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Other once-a-week classes include Wacky Wednesdays at 5 p.m., Boot Camp Thursdays at 5 p.m. and Cardio Sculpt at 5 p.m. on Fridays. According to the parks and rec schedule, Boot Camp is designed to “build strength, confidence and physical stamina.” Participants can reduce their body fat while simultaneously increasing cardiovascular efficiency and muscular strength and endurance.

Cardio sculpt is another whole-body workout that incorporates both traditional and resistance-based exercises in order to maximize fat-burning while toning the body using a high-intensity workout.

There are also Silver Sneakers exercise programs designed for local seniors, including Silver Sneakers Classic, a low-impact fitness program; Silver Sneakers Yoga, a modified yoga class with various supports for those who need it; and Fit and Forever Silver Sneakers Splash, a water workout designed to maintain joint mobility and muscle strength for seniors and/or those with disabilities in shallow water.

Other water programs include Deep Water Exercise, which sees people use an Aqua Jogger Belt and/or water dumbbells in the 9-foot to 12-foot water of the indoor pool; Hydroshape/Water Aerobics, a beginner-to-intermediate low impact toning and cardio class; Lap Swim; and Water Walking, which sees participants walk around the shallow end of the indoor pool and do some exercises.

For the full schedule of classes and when they occur, visit


Other events

In addition to the new fitness classes, Russell said he’s still coming up with new things for the community to enjoy. One of the events he’s still cooking up is a new city-wide walking event, like the Walk the Appalachian Trail program last year.

The city has hosted several walking competitions over the last few years, beginning with the Walk Across Tennessee in 2016, and Russell said he’s planning a new walk with a different theme for this year.

According to Russell, the newest walking program will center on the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean. The program will cover 3,689 miles and is scheduled to kick off in the fall, according to Russell.

Russell is also working on the city’s 20th annual soap box derby, which is scheduled for May 4, or “Star Wars Day.”

Parks and rec is also planning for a couple of baseball leagues, according to Russell. The Babe Ruth baseball league will begin signups on Saturday, April 6, before its season starts May 11. The league is for 13- to 15-year-olds, according to an informational flier on the league.

An adult baseball league is also in the works for later in the summer. Signups for the adult league will begin June 8, and the season is scheduled to begin on July 9. For more information, call Russell at 931-455-1121.

D.W. Wilson Community Center is located at 501 N. Collins Street.

Erin McCullough may be reached at